Future Operating Environment

Link: What chess can teach us about the future of AI and war

By The Cove January 4, 2020


The impact of AI on the future of war is one of the 21st Century's great 'known unknowns'. Military professionals and technology commentators know it will dramatically change the character of war but are unsure of just how it will change or the implications these changes will herald for the profession of arms.

Jashree Pandya, writing in Forbes last year, suggested that, "The reality today is that artificial intelligence is leading us toward a new algorithmic warfare battlefield that has no boundaries or borders, may or may not have humans involved, and will be impossible to understand and perhaps control across the human ecosystem in cyberspace, geospace, and space (CGS)." 

Meanwhile, a recent paper by the Australian Defence College's Perry Group contends that, "the Australian Defence Force's organisational culture is poorly equipped for - if not entirely opposed to - the fast and complete adoption of AI-enabled warfare".

However, there are some signpost if only one knows where to look. In today's link from War on the Rocks, Andrew Lohn argues that chess has been teaching military strategists the ways of war for hundreds of years and has been a testbed for AI development for decades. In his compelling article, Lohn suggests that far from making decisions more predictable, AI may result in pushing humans towards more inventive - perhaps even reckless - options outside the likely parameters of AI, thus making war more unpredictable.


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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.



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